Rise & Lead Summit Partnership with the WBII

Having volunteered for the Rise & Lead Summit, I knew I was going to be on a whirlwind day of inspiration, connection and empowerment, but little did I realise how impactful it was going to be!


The day started early, and I felt instantly connected to the new faces I met who were going to be part of the support team for the day. My partner in crime: Dymphna Elsink, together with Vanessa Smith, Tori de Bassio, Hannah Huber, Cynthia van Amesfoort, Amy Buelow and of course our fabulous lead for the day, Deborah Valentine were there to welcome participants. The energy surrounding this event was already palpable!

RiseandLead11Each of the talks and panels were conversations surrounding Female Leadership and how to get the conversation moving in the right direction.

After an incredibly humble introduction and warm welcome from Ebere, Poonam Burua started with her speech on “The Power of Presence“. This leader truly walks the talk; her quite presence was incredible throughout the day and was the topic of many conversations among the participants!

Followed by a Panel discussion with Poonam, Julia Jelinska and Hanna moderated by Ebere, the day got off to a grounding start.

How can women rise up to become effective leaders in the workplace and marketplace?


What are 25 things about you to get a clear picture about yourself

Julia: know and be yourself, then courage, truth & connection
Poonam: understand the ground on which you are standing. Why aren’t women in boards? Because people don’t want them there. The ecosystem much change.

How did you find boldness
Hannah:  Just try it!
Julia: Are men sensitive to the discussion on gender equality? Depends on the person.. how aware of bias they are. Without them nothing will change.
Poonam: who will mentor the men? It’s important to have men in your founding members. You will succeed with people who want to be there.

How can we help women think beyond small is beautiful.
Hannah: Partner up.
Poonam: Who invented the word entrepreneur and what does it mean? Don’t can yourself an entrepreneur.. Call yourself CEO. Understand your business acumen and use the right word.
Julia: I lead by what I do. Not every style of negotiation works. Power lies in the appreciate if others.. use the network you have.

What is the best way to collaborate without losing your values.
Hannah: You have to know when to say yes and when to say no. Be critical who you partner and collaborate with.

Did you have a mentor?
Julia: My mother. I look for people from who I can learn.
Poonam: Is it accurate that women need more confidence? A mentor is someone or something who gives inspiration. Accomplished and knowledge, skills is one thing, energy is key. My strength comes from the iceberg below me.. You can’t touch it.

From the floor:
There is a special place in hell for women who are nasty to other women: Poonam: Don’t ask questions like this.. Move the conversation on…

The exertion of power:  How do we tap into the deeper power that moves things?
Hannah: I’m not a loud person so have a quiet power. Finding power through a connection of 2 people. Precise, communication and knowing your unique skills. I’m a connector.
Julia: I believe in doing. It’s in you power to find what your purpose is. Authenticity.

Can you share your setbacks and how you overcame them?
Poonam: The past doesn’t exist.. talk about getting ahead. Recycling your past didn’t work for me.. let it go. This isn’t a psychology session . I’m an economist! CEOs don’t get up and talk about the past.
Julia: Vulnerability is powerful.. Be brave enough to show up for who you are. Learn about yourself.
Hannah: use it as a launchpad.

How did you find your purpose?
Hanna: I’m still figuring it out.
Julia: You don’t need to know it every day and one day it will rise.
Poonam: have to understand your own mortality. What is the legacy you will leave? How do you want to be remembered?
Ebere: Beauty and possibilities.. do things that bring you joy.


I hope you enjoyed my taster of the day. More to follow!

Author & Photographs: Lisa Hall